Obviously, 10,000 feet weren't enough, so I started my trip yesterday by going uphill towards Independence Pass. The bike worked hard but also seemed to enjoy the beautiful road along lakes and a creek as well as trees and impressive mountains.
At 12,000 feet I was pretty proud of myself until I saw a girl with a bicycle taking a selfie in front of the sign that showed the name of the pass, the elevation and stated that you were standing on the Continental Divide. Such a badass. And I saw a bunch more women cyclists coming up that mountain.
But well, I still think that I can be pretty proud of my trip. But more than that I'm happy and grateful to have been able to do it and for all the things I've seen and experienced. And people I've met. And it continued. These beautiful mountains and the road along the Colorado River combined with the bluest sky and clouds. Eventually, after only 60 miles but what felt like hours I arrived in Aspen. I've never been a fan of posh ski resorts but I must admit Aspen is pretty lovely. When I sat down to eat something I got approached by the waiter who asked me where I came riding from. When I told him about my trip I once again heard what I've heard a few times before when he said "You are living my dream!" Well, I can only recommend to everyone to do it themselves. Every single day I'm awed by what this country has to offer. There are not enough days in my life to see all of it. But at least I took a stab at it and have seen quite a bit. And it's so worth it.
After lunch I rode from Aspen to the I70 and from there west towards Green River in Utah: another 200 miles. By the time I reached the interstate, it had gotten significantly warmer. And it continued to do so. I wanted to stop in Grand Junction to get a cold drink, give my butt some rest and allow the bike to cool down a little. After what happened in Lubbock, I kept a close eye on the oil and ear on how she sounded, maybe a little too paranoidly so. But then I didn't stop and I thought it was only 100 more miles anyway so I just kept going. The scenery couldn't have been any more different from the morning. Huge desert plains with those typical table mountains and cliffs left and right. And once again, you could see the road stretch all the way to the horizon.
A few miles after I had crossed the border into Utah, I saw a huge bird flying along the interstate. Really low. First, I thought it was a vulture that was waiting for a gap in traffic to continue its feast on some roadkill. But then I got closer and the bird looked even bigger. And then I saw the eyes and the yellow beak of this huge and beautiful creature. A golden eagle. For a scary moment I thought, he was going to pick me up and carry me to his nest to feed his babies. "Crunchy German meat today, kids. Om nom." But then he turned and I was left with a warm feeling to have seen another one of these majestic birds from so close.
Fifty miles before I got to Green River I had a brief scare when I thought my bike had lost power. But after a short stop and oil check I restarted her and she got me all the way to my motel. Such a brave girl. I thought, the trip couldn't get any more beautiful after this day. High mountains and desert and rocks. Turned out, I was wrong.